Rainbow Lake Wilderness

Rainbow Lake Wilderness is a 7,133-acre property on Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. This is in an area where the glaciers scoured the landscape into rolling hills and the 16 lakes and 9 other ponds on the property bear testament to that. However, there are no flowing streams on the property: water enters the lakes and ponds by way of direct precipitation and underground flow from the watershed.

Tree coverage mostly consists of pine, balsam fir, maple, aspen, northern hardwood and paper birch. Among the mammals on the property are black bear, deer, porcupine, coyote and red fox. Among the birds are owls, hawks, bald eagles, woodpeckers, songbirds and loons.

There was a time when this area was almost completely logged off and the grades of old roads and railroads can still be seen. The North Country National Scenic Trail crosses the wilderness for six miles, much of that on old railroad grades. The route of the trail is marked only now and then at intersections with other trails. The wilderness is almost completely bounded by Forest Service roads so access is relatively easy.

Map of Rainbow Lake Wilderness
Map of Rainbow Lake Wilderness: Click on the map for a larger version
Upper photo courtesy of
Map courtesy of the US Forest Service